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Democrats in ‘Group Think’ Land. Exclusive: When Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate turned to world affairs, the NBC correspondents and both Sen.

Democrats in ‘Group Think’ Land

Sanders and ex-Secretary Clinton fell in line behind “group thinks” about Syria, Iran and Russia that lack evidentiary support, writes Robert Parry. By Robert Parry A curious reality about Official Washington is that to have “credibility” you must accept the dominant “group thinks” whether they have any truth to them or not, a rule that applies to both the mainstream news media and the political world, even to people who deviate from the pack on other topics. For instance, Sen. Bernie Sanders may proudly declare himself a “democratic socialist” – far outside the acceptable Washington norm – but he will still echo the typical propaganda about Syria, Russia, Iran and other “designated villains.” So, you had Mitchell and Holt framing questions based on Official Washington’s “group thinks” – and Sanders and Clinton responding accordingly.

Blaming Iran Blaming Assad Blaming Russia. U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels. Seymour M. Hersh · The Red Line and the Rat Line · LRB 6 April 2014. In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress.

Seymour M. Hersh · The Red Line and the Rat Line · LRB 6 April 2014

Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.[*]​* Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia.

Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? Us-attacks-russia-over-copters. WASHINGTON — Sen.

us-attacks-russia-over-copters

John Cornyn, R-Texas, is in the middle of a high-stakes diplomatic chess match over a Russian government-owned arms agent that supplies the U.S. -backed army in Afghanistan as well as President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, which the United Nations says is embroiled in a civil war against anti-government rebels. For Cornyn, the issue is the Pentagon’s $900 million no-bid contract with Rosoboronexport – the Russian government-owned arms supplier – which he told reporters Wednesday “strikes me as profoundly wrong and inappropriate.” Russia, he said, has “blood on its hands, specifically Syrian blood.” The senator, a member of the Armed Services Committee, has called for an investigation into the contract. The issue of Russian support for Assad’s regime has taken center stage this week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out against Russia sending a new shipment of attack helicopters that she said were being used to kill Syrian civilians.

7 of the Worst Dictators the U.S. Is Backing to the Hilt. February 4, 2011 | Like this article?

7 of the Worst Dictators the U.S. Is Backing to the Hilt

Join our email list: News Analysis / James M. Dorsey: US-Saudi differences over Iran widen emerging gulf between longtime allies. Relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia, already frayed by US support for the wave of anti-government protests sweeping the Middle East and North Africa, are being further strained by differences over the degree to which Iran may be instigating the turmoil.

US officials and a report by Chatham House, a prestigious British think tank, warn that Saudi Arabia’s efforts to maintain the regional status quo, refusal to recognize that the protests are fundamentally sparked by widespread political and economic discontent and insistence that Iran is at the root of all evil could provoke sectarian tension across the Middle East and Asia. The fears are further fuelled by Saudi efforts, disclosed by The Wall Street Journal, to rally Muslim nations across the Middle East and Asia to join an informal Arab alliance against Iran.

Bahrain invited the GCC troops to help it defend itself against alleged Iranian interference. To be sure, US officials as well as the Chatham House report. The Egyptian mirror - Glenn Greenwald. Vice President Omar Suleiman warned Tuesday that “we can’t put up with” continued protests in Tahrir for a long time, saying the crisis must be ended as soon as possible in a sharply worded sign of increasing regime impatience with 16 days of mass demonstrations.

The Egyptian mirror - Glenn Greenwald

Suleiman said there will be “no ending of the regime” and no immediate departure for President Hosni Mubarak, according to the state news agency MENA, reporting on a meeting between the vice president and the heads of state and independent newspapers. He told them the regime wants dialogue to resolve protesters’ demands for democratic reform, adding in a veiled warning, “We don’t want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools.” At one point in the roundtable meeting, Suleiman warned that the alternative to dialogue “is that a coup happens, which would mean uncalculated and hasty steps, including lots of irrationalities. We don’t want to reach that point, to protect Egypt.” Who's doing Mubarak's bidding in Washington? - War Room. As protests rage on in Egypt, the close relationship between the U.S. government and the regime of Hosni Mubarak has already garnered a lot of attention.

Who's doing Mubarak's bidding in Washington? - War Room

But it’s also worth taking a moment to examine the lobbying muscle that Egypt employs to secure its interests in Washington, including a mammoth $1.3 billion annual military aid package. Seven firms are currently registered foreign agents for Egypt, including one, the Podesta Group, that has close ties to the Democratic Party and the Obama administration. US envoy's business link to Egypt - Americas, World. Mr Wisner's astonishing remarks – "President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical: it's his opportunity to write his own legacy" – shocked the democratic opposition in Egypt and called into question Mr Obama's judgement, as well as that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

US envoy's business link to Egypt - Americas, World

The US State Department and Mr Wisner himself have now both claimed that his remarks were made in a "personal capacity". But there is nothing "personal" about Mr Wisner's connections with the litigation firm Patton Boggs, which openly boasts that it advises "the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] government's behalf in Europe and the US". Oddly, not a single journalist raised this extraordinary connection with US government officials – nor the blatant conflict of interest it appears to represent.

So why on earth was he sent to talk to Mubarak, who is in effect a client of Mr Wisner's current employers? Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood by Ian Johnson. As US-backed strongmen around North Africa and the Middle East are being toppled or shaken by popular protests, Washington is grappling with a crucial foreign-policy issue: how to deal with the powerful but opaque Muslim Brotherhood.

Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood by Ian Johnson

In Egypt, the Brotherhood has taken an increasingly forceful part in the protests, issuing a statement Thursday calling for Mubarak’s immediate resignation. And though it is far from clear what role the Brotherhood would have should Mubarak step down, the Egyptian president has been claiming it will take over. In any case, the movement is likely to be a major player in any transitional government. Journalists and pundits are already weighing in with advice on the strengths and dangers of this 83-year-old Islamist movement, whose various national branches are the most potent opposition force in virtually all of these countries. Some wonder how the Brotherhood will treat Israel, or if it really has renounced violence. Consider President Eisenhower.